It comes as a bit of a surprise that a city the size of New Port Richey could support two theaters with regular schedules of live plays. It shouldn’t, especially given the other arts that thrive here.
The Richey Suncoast Theatre originally opened in 1926 as a movie theater showing silent movies. It was the brainchild of Thomas Meighan, who was trying to establish a movie colony in New Port Richey. The theatre was used as a movie theater on and off until a new two screen rocking chair theater was opened behind Southgate in 1968. The theatre was sold to the Suncoast Young People’s Theater and has been hosting live performances since 1972. The theater is one block south of Main Street on Grand Blvd and seats about 300. You can check out their full schedule on their website.
Interestingly enough, the Richey Theatre has also shown movies in recent years. The next such event will be the Thomas Meighan Film Festival on May 1st and 2nd.
Our other live theater is Jimmy Ferraro’s Studio Theatre on Main Street, just a few doors east of Grand. Assuming you have a good arm, you could throw a ball from one of these theaters and hit the other.
Jimmy Ferraro’s Studio Theatre opened the summer of last year and has hosted a number of productions since. Their next event is “Ain’t Food Wonderful!”, running weekends from April 10th through May 3rd. The Studio Theatre is much more intimate than the Richey Theatre as there are only 72 seats. Shows here routinely sell out, so reservations are a must.
Stretching the boundaries of New Port Richey a bit gives you both the Show Palace Dinner Theater in Hudson and the River Ridge Center for the Performing Arts. Both of these venues are within easy driving distance from New Port Richey and host a variety of live shows over the course of the year.
As we’ve explored the various aspects of the New Port Richey Arts scene over the past few weeks, it becomes apparent that New Port Richey is much more than just a sleepy little town of 15,000 souls. We are THE downtown for West Pasco, with a quarter million residents!
People flock to downtown New Port Richey to check out various shows and then stick around for drinks and dinner. I was working the welcome table at the Chasco Fiesta Tuesday night and some visitors from out of town asked about dining options. They decided on Mexican so I gave them directions to walk over to Estellas.
There is a noticeable increase in diners at the Mezzaluna when Jimmy Ferraro has a show across the street at his theater or Richey Suncoast has a show a block away. Is there a better way to spend an evening than coming to New Port Richey for a nice dinner at one of our restaurants, a show at one of our two theaters, and perhaps a little music and drinks at the Dulcet after the show? New Port Richey is the destination of choice in West Pasco.
I look forward to seeing you downtown.
Rob Marlowe, Mayor